a perennial that produces something? in Miami?

natives_and_veggies(10b)February 3, 2013

My farming space is larger than I need for my little tomato, arugula and broccoli crop. But I keep amending the soil there. Now I've got pretty good dirt, in Miami terms.
So I'm thinking of planting some sort of perennial on the back side of it, something that can handle shade much of the day and then blazing Miami sun for a few hours.
I don't water much, but can water this area from the water barrel.
Any ideas? I'd love something that produces food or flowers and doesn't have to be pruned - a little low plant that makes me happy. Even a flowering plant that would draw bees over my tomato garden and help with pollination by tempting those little buzzers.
Any ideas?

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Oh, and this area is under my bedroom window, which means better vigilance on my part, but also means I don't want something that will grow more than four feet high. I don't want to add a pruning problem to my life. I'm lazy like that.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:42PM
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A food crop with a only a couple hours of sun is a tall order anyplace, I think.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 11:44AM
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I wouldn't mind just putting a pretty shrub there, but I practice Darwinism gardening - I'm really partial to things that can survive my neglect.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 6:59PM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

Ginger? Turmeric? Cardamom? Pineapples?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:01AM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Hi Susie,

Some consider it invasive but it is a Florida and Caribbean native, blooms year around, is a favorite of bees and butterflies and laughs at a lack of care and climate...porterweed.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 6:54PM
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Hmmm, Carol. I hadn't even considered ginger or tumeric. I use tumeric a lot in cooking, so that's a really interesting idea. From what I read, conditions in this spot might be ideal for both. I don't cook with cardamom and I already have a bunch of pineapples in another spot. But tumeric and ginger.... thanks for the suggestion! Do you grow either or both? Any tips? Can I just grab some from Publix and plant it?
Porterweed is also a cool idea Tom. I have some of that out front, I'm sure there are some babies under there. I haven't found it to be invasive and it might work in this spot and in another bare spot in the yard I need to fill. Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 11:36AM
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keiki(10 FL)

How about okinawa spinach? It is pretty, low growing and very strong plant. I have had mine for a couple years now and love it. I use the leaves in salads and on sandwiches.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 10:14AM
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Keiki, I have been looking for Okinawa spinach. I can't find a way to PM you but would you like to trade some?

Sorry everyone, for digressing from the subject in my 1st para.
Natives and veggies - what have you eventually planted? I am also trying to get some ideas for a perennial patch of edibles close to a concrete wall. I'm in zone 9b.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 12:21PM
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Dragon Fruit?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 3:32PM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

FWIW, I have a large container of chicory that's been growing for more than 2 years now - excellent bitter greens (if you care for bitter) - very similar to dandelion greens. I make a salad w/ sweet peppers, feta, walnuts & oregano, dressed w/black pepper, lemon & olive oil & have seen a yummy-looking recipe for sauteed bitter greens w/ anchovies & garlic I want to try. The blue flowers are lovely as well.

In the past, I also grew aji dulce chile peppers that lasted over 3 years in a large container - they look & smell like habaneros, but no heat @ all.

I also have been growing the perennial arugula(sylvetta) for many years now - plants last a long time & reseed easily too.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 10:23AM
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I liked the porterweed suggestion, so I dug up a baby from the front yard and put it there.
And I ordered some tumeric bulbs online. I'll let everyone know how they do.
I also have a pineapple that's almost ready to pick, so I might plop its top there.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 4:55PM
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Wow! Thanks, I'm getting ideas.
Natives and veggies, how long did your pineapple take to bear fruit?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 7:54PM
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I have a couple different varieties of pineapple. One took three years and produced a small fruit - but it was the sweetest pineapple I have ever tasted. It made a pup and I also planted its top, which took. I'm willing to wait another three years for a couple pineapples that sweet. I'd wait a decade, considering it is a very small plant and I can tuck it any number of places and just wait.
The other makes a really large plant and has beastly serrated spines that make it impossible to weed near it. But the two I have of that variety produced stunning hot magenta fruits this year - they were basically worth the two-year wait for their ornamental value. I may have picked the first one too early - it was not edible. Or, the person who gave me the pups told me last night, it may have been an inedible one. Apparently some of the hybrids will produce edible and inedible varieties. In the hopes that it is edible, I'm waiting to pick the second fruit. Wish I had taken a picture when they were both on the plant and upright - they were really stunning. My friend also told me that she had been told that a pup from an inedible fruiting plant may produce edible fruit the next time. Anyone know more about pineapples than me? Wouldn't be hard since what I know is from two types of plants and a conversation at a cocktail party last night with a weekend gardener like me. :)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 4:08PM
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Natives and veggies, today I bought 2 pineapples (to eat & make jam). They were so sweet. Got info on the net and planted the 2 tops under a west wall window. So I guess I now have to be patient. :)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 10:32PM
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My first thought was pigeon peas, but they can get up to 5 ft, so may be too tall for that spot. They are very hardy tropical perennial bushes that produce yummy peas you can let dry right on the bush and save for whenever. I think they're native to Jamaica. I have 5 bushes that I nursed through the winter up here, but you would have no problem down in Miami. (Can you tell how much I love my pigeon peas,lol?)

Anyway, my second thought was either malabar or okinawa spinach. The malabar isn't perennial up here but it does self seed. I even have some volunteers in new areas this year.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 9:17AM
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